Belfast Telegraph

Charity fixture ends in a draw

By Michael McHugh

The Green and White Army proved that they can be as effective on the pitch as they are on the terraces, as they made a dramatic comeback in a fans' fixture yesterday.

But before stepping onto the turf, the German supporters fortified themselves with a drop of Northern Irish hard stuff.

About 50 supporters of Die Mannschaft took a bus trip to the North Coast alongside their hosts from the Northern Ireland fans football team for a tour of Bushmills whiskey distillery.

Any hangovers from a tour of the distillery were quickly sweated out during the fund-raising match at a Belfast sports ground for children with cancer.

Jim Rainey, a founding Northern Ireland team member, said: "It is friendly banter between the football teams, getting them together.

"The beer is the centre of it.

"The football isn't really that serious, some players are aged in their 50s."

The group's ethos is football for all and it has been at the forefront of tackling sectarianism.

While building ties across Europe, the multi-age and multi-ability squad has raised around £100,000 for charity.

As for the match, Northern Ireland scored first, but still finished the first half 3-1 down. But a heroic comeback in the second saw the final score sit at 3-3. Last summer, before their national teams clashed in Paris, the two sets of fans faced off under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. It also finished 3-3.

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